The YWiB team is super excited to bring our SheMentors community together on October 19th for a full-day of workshops! In an effort to increase opportunities for knowledge-sharing within the SheMentors program, four of our amazing mentors will share insights on challenging areas of professional life.
We interviewed Faren, Hang, Alana, and Megan to learn more about them and get a sneak peek of their workshop topics. Read on and we know you’ll be as excited as we are for this training day!
TOPIC 1: How To Stand Out with My Peers, Or To The World!
presented by Faren Bogach
Over the past few years, you've made partner at a Bay Street law firm, started your own software business, and participated on a number of boards. As you've already achieved so much, what is next for Faren?
I never think about how much I’ve done, I keep thinking about how much more I want to do. Im always looking forward. Right now, I’m focusing on growing my client base at WeirFoulds LLP as well as gearing up for a big trial. My software business, Pay Prompt, is just in its infancy, so it needs a lot of attention to grow and thrive. That being said, I’m always open to new ideas. If you would had told me a 18 months ago that I’d be developing software now, I don’t know if I would have believed you! But once we had the idea, I knew I had to do it! I’m a “yes” person.
When it comes to your workplace, network, and clients, what are three things you hope you are known for?
The three things I think that I’m known for are:
1. I care. I’m very invested in my clients and the people that I work with. I’m always thinking about the people that I work with (internally and externally) and how to make their lives easier.
2. I work hard. Now that I have two young kids, my schedule is... different. I will get back to people, and work on the difficult issue- but it may be at 5am or at 11pm. When someone new joins the team, I have to tell them to expect to hear from me at any time - but that doesn’t mean I expect a response at 2am. It takes a while to get used to, but it works.
3. I am ambitious. I want it all – win the case, get a good deal for my client, etc. But the only way to “have it all” is to have an amazing team of people – and let them thrive. I am the chair of the WeirFoulds Women group at the firm, and its successes are based on the women at the firm who create and run with their ideas. To me that is a true “win”.
What would be your advice for young women who are highly-skilled and passionate about their careers but are introverted, or just don't like to be in the spotlight? How can they stand out?
You can’t wait for someone to find you. When I started practicing law, a mentor told me that to be successful, I should focus on doing good work and the work would come. While that may have been true when he started, it isn’t the case now. You need to step out of the shadows and promote yourself. The most important person looking out for you is YOU! I’m an introvert, so it doesn’t mean being the loudest person in the room. But it means standing up for your ideas and taking credit. I find that social media makes this easier for introverts. Find your skill, find your people and network in a way that you are comfortable.
TOPIC 2: Time Management
presented by Hang Zhao
Hang, you'll be sharing insights on time management with our SheMentors participants. Can you tell us about a situation in your own career when you realized how vital time management was for success?
Before I became a coach I was working as a CPA. My last job was in consulting, I was managing multiple projects and a team. It was a lot of responsibility and I was often pulled in a many directions at once. I realized I had to determine what was most urgent and work back from there. I needed to consider the energy necessary to effectively manage these commitments, for example how much of my energy was getting burned in just shifting between tasks all the time. I also had to travel a lot which meant long days and making it a priority to exercise in the mornings and reflect… because I knew how exhausted I would be at the end of the day.
It sometimes feels like we live in a society where 'busyness' and 'hustle' are glorified and encouraged to an extreme. What would you say in response to this sentiment, and how does it impact time management?
I think it boils down to mindset. If you buy into the notion that you need to be busy all the time, it will impact all areas of your life. I feel like it’s a mindset that traps people so they feel like they don't have other options. What you believe becomes your reality. It takes time and freedom to be creative. And really, more hours doesn't necessarily equal better results.
What does time management look like for you?
As an entrepreneur, I've really learned to align my actions to my values. Having your own business does mean you have more freedom to determine how you use your time, but it can also be tempting to work on the business 24/7. I have thought a lot about what I want to give to my clients as well as what I want from my life, where I want to focus my time.
Time management is a journey for me. It's not always perfect… it's a dance. Sometimes you blur the boundaries between work and personal time. I have thought a lot about being intentional with my time and really want to commit to maintaining strong relationships with my partner and friends, as well as prioritizing my own health. I am running in a marathon on October 20, so I think the training for that has helped me lately to keep to my health goals. As well, I schedule self-care in my calendar so I make sure to carve out that time just for me.
TOPIC 3: How to Feel Aligned at Each Stage of Your Career
presented by Alana Ruoso
You currently work as a Creative Manager for a large cosmetics brand. What attracted you to this sector and what do you like most about your role?
The role I am in now is extremely unique - it is part management, and part hands-on design. I thought it would be a great opportunity to build my managment skills while also being able to be creative on a daily basis. In addition, I had never worked in Beauty before and I love a good challenge! I am always eager to learn how a different industry works so that I can increase my skillset and build my knowledge base. I always want to grow and learn.
Can you talk about an experience (good or bad) where you realized how your core values were impacting your career choices?
A few years ago I identified my four main core values and one of them is Generosity. I realized that the only jobs I was happy and fulfilled at were the ones where there was an inherently generous culture. If the company wasn't generous - in terms of time, money, support and encouragement - I was miserable. Nothing they could offer me would make me happy if they were not generous.The current company I work for is extremely generous and it naturally makes for a great fit. I feel very aligned and most days - but of course not always! I end the day feeling positive, grounded and content.
Some young women, especially early in their careers, find themselves in roles that they might not consider ideal but are a matter of necessity. What advice would you give them?
Treat that role as a stepping stone. It is absolutely okay to be in a job you don't love if you have to (for financial or other reasons) as long as you are willing to keep moving forward. Have the mindset that this is temporary and leading to a more ideal job. You are not stuck in any job or role forever unless you give up! Keep working towards your ideal job and eventually it will happen for you.
TOPIC 4: Imposter Syndrome
presented by Megan MacQuarrie
What is Imposter syndrome? Why do we need to talk about it?
Imposter syndrome is essentially a feeling of being inadequate or like a fraud. It’s when you start to doubt yourself and credit your accomplishments to other people. It's a lack of confidence to own your success and believe in your abilities. Imposter syndrome is unfortunately quite common for women, studies have shown men also experience these feelings of self-doubt but not at the same rate.
Can you tell us about a time you experienced Imposter syndrome? How did you overcome those harmful feelings?
Almost every day! I'm often the only woman in the room, or the youngest person in a room, and sometimes I am really aware of that and start to mentally discredit myself. It can show up when I am running a meeting, making an objection, or about to do a presentation. The thing about Imposter syndrome is it never fully goes away, no matter how you identify and address how it shows up in your life. I have a few strategies I use to combat these feelings, but the reality is it's an ongoing battle.
What is one piece of advice you would give someone struggling with Imposter syndrome?
I would say find ways to speak about it where you can, in safe spaces. I'm a People Operations Manager, so I make a point to have conversations about Imposter syndrome with our team. If you can acknowledge it in the workplace, or with some of your team members, that is helpful. Otherwise, make sure to seek support from people you trust. You'll be able to turn to them when you feel like you're spiralling in negativity. They can talk you down and give you an outside perspective on yourself.